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FEBS Lett. 1996 Apr 15;384(2):147-50.

Modulation of microtubule shape in vitro by high molecular weight microtubule associated proteins MAP1A, MAP1B, and MAP2.

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Department of Biology, Università di Milano, Italy.


The effect of microtubule associated proteins on microtubule shape has been investigated in reconstitution experiments using purified tubulin and purified MAP1A, MAP1B, and MAP2. Microtubules assembled in the presence of these MAPs were fixed with 0.1% glutaraldehyde and, after negative staining, were examined by electron microscopy. The results show that MAP1A microtubules were generally short and "straight' while those assembled with MAP1B were longer and "bendy'. MAP2 microtubules showed both types of morphologies even though straight microtubules were more abundant. These data suggest that MAPs may modulate not only microtubule dynamics but also microtubule shape which may be important in their spatial distribution and/or role in specific neuronal areas.

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